Saturday, June 1, 2013

1850 letter from Isaac Farrar of Bangor, Maine, to John Thomas of Brownville, Maine

Letter dated 24 July 1850 sent from Isaac Farrar at Bangor, Maine, to John Thomas, Esq., at Brownville, Maine.  

I'm assuming the writer is the Isaac Farrar whose mansion, designed by Richard Upjohn in the 1830s, later became home to the Northern Conservatory of Music and is now the headquarters of the Bangor Y.

Isaac Farrar Mansion
The Isaac Farrar Mansion, from Google Earth


Bangor, July 24th 1850
Mr. John Thomas
A friend of mine has informed me that Mr. Soule has got a drive on the Pleasant River, logs he left at the Pond, and got part of them down.  I wish you on the receipt of this call on Mr. Soule and inform him that I have written to you to go on and scale and estimate the number of thousands that have got down to the Brownville  Boom.  Of the two marks, I am interested in, I will pay you for the same.  Enclosed is a five dollar bill and when you send the scale send the amount due you.
Respectfully yours,
Isaac Farrar
P.S. Please to state whether the 50 thousand board __ in your letter sent me a few days ago meant for the two marks I am interested in or for the whole got down of all marks.

From online research, hopefully correct: [corrections and additions welcome!]

Isaac Farrar was born about 1798 in New Hampshire, son of Jonathan and Hannah (Cram) Farrar.  Jonathan and Hannah brought their family from Meredith, New Hampshire, to Maine, first to Bath, then to Skowhegan/Bloomfield and, in 1817, to Dexter, where Jonathan operated several mills, including a sawmill, gristmill, tannery and woolen mill.  He also ran a store and was the postmaster.   

On 8 June 1835, Isaac married Caroline Weld Fuller, daughter of Judge Henry Weld Fuller and Esther (Gould) Fuller.  Caroline was born 3 June 1815 at Augusta, Maine.

By at least 1840, they were living at Bangor, where they had, I believe, four children:

  1. John Henry, born 1 May 1836; married Lilliette Snow.
  2. Henry Weld Farrar, born 24 April 1840 at Bangor, Maine; Colonel in the Civil War; married Laura L. Wilson of Chicago; died at Chicago in 1881.  Read a brief and very interesting account of his war experiences and later life here in a report of the Harvard Class of 1861.  He died 17 April 1881.
  3. Samuel Franklin Farrar, born 25 July 1854 at Bangor, Maine; received medical degrees from Chicago Medical School and Harvard but never practiced.  Involved in the mining industry in Colorado for a few years.  Died while exercising a horse at Santa Barbara, California, on 6 October 1898.
  4. Caroline F. Farrar, born 1 February 1843 at Bangor, Maine; married Charles Lush Wilson; died at Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1915.  Her husband, a Chicago newspaperman who nominated Abraham Lincoln in 1858, had predeceased her in 1878.
Isaac Farrar died about 1860.  Some online sources have his widow Caroline dying at Florence, Italy, on 12 December 1872.

John Thomas, assuming I have the correct person, was born about September 1793 at Sidney, Maine, son of Ichabod and Mehitable (Crosby) Thomas.  

He married Sarah Davis, daughter of Eber and Phebe (Burgess) Davis, on 12 March 1818.  She was born at Fairfield, Maine, in 1793.  I believe John and Sarah had seven children, one of whom was also named John, but he would have been only 12 years old in 1850, so he was not the letter's intended recipient.
  1. Stephen Crosby Thomas, born 19 December 1818 at Brownville, Maine; died there 3 May 1820
  2. Emily Thomas, born 14 August 1821 at Brownville, Maine; died there in 1847
  3. Eber Davis Thomas, born 30 July 1823 at Brownville, Maine; died 1852 in California 
  4. Mary C. Thomas, born 6 September 1825 at Brownville, Maine; married Welsh immigrant David Griffith
  5. Stephen Alfred Thomas, born 24 August 1827, at Brownville, Maine; married 1) Julia Gerrish 2) Mary Ellen Rogers; died 3 December 1914 at Brownville, Maine
  6. Cynthia Davis Thomas, born 19 July 1832 at Brownville, Maine; died on 13 January 1888 at Grand Rapids, Michigan
  7. John Baker Thomas, born 23 July 1838 at Brownville, Maine; died 11 September 1864 at home of "Chronic Diarrhea", contracted, I believe, during his service in the Civil War.  
John Thomas, the father, died 30 April 1863.  His wife Sarah (Davis) Thomas died in 1866.

If you have corrections to the information above, or more information on the Farrar and Thomas families, please leave a comment or contact me directly.  Thanks!

Gulf Hagas, one of Maine's unique natural features, is a three-mile gorge through which flows the West Branch of the Pleasant River.  The West and East branches meet at Brownville, and the Pleasant then joins the Piscataquis River at Medford.  The Piscataquis River joins the Penobscot River at Howland.  Bangor is downstream along the Penobscot.

See an earlier post about a 1914 log drive on the Pleasant and Piscataquis Rivers.

Thanks for stopping by!

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